Monday, June 11, 2012


Strange how life comes round - "The House That Built Me' was 4 Pearl Hill Street.  And now, my Mom, my precious brave Mom is in room #4 at a nursing home.  Oh my, the road she has traveled to end up at this #4.  4 Pearl Hill gave us all life - and security - and family and love - how do we now create that for our Mom at this #4.  We brought a few of her favorite Teddy bears, and her quilts, some pictures and a dream catcher to calm her nightmares - her favorite snacks and her comfy clothes. And of course, us.

Did I mention how teeny-tiny her 'space'  is?  It is really teeny-tiny.  Just enough room for a single bed, a recliner chair and an end table. A far cry from 4 Pearl Hill Street and also from her lovely in-law apartment built on to my Sisters' house where she has lived for the past 10 years.
There is a shelf for the TV and she shares a closet with her room-mate Carmel, who, by the way, had an entire conversation with Skipp without her pants on - so she is a tad out of touch -  as are so many that reside at this same facility.  The wheel chairs lined up like a train - folks hollering - talking to themselves - one lady ordered bing cherries via a make believe phone for over an hour - just a handful! (then louder) - "JUST A HANDFUL OF BING CHERRIES!!!"

It is a small nursing facility - 45 beds.  And all on one floor in a "+" shape.  If any of you care to see it, you can google "Watrous Nursing Center" - Madison, CT.  Trust me when I say the rooms are much smaller than the virtual tour promises.  And so we go, as often as we can.  My sister is just a few miles away so she goes twice a day.  I am a bit further - and struggle with transport some days and navigating the hallways (damn MS), so I m going every other day for a few hours. I call every night to have the staff tell her I love her. (her cell phone is on order).  I put on my best face and muster up my best good energy and 'lift her' spirit as much as is possible given the reality - breaks my heart to go, breaks my heart to leave.  I feel guilty when I am home, relaxing in my lovely space while she is so confined.   I have no idea what normal is any more - certainly not this.   I imagine that in time we will get in to a rhythm and it will become more normal, well, more routine I guess.

I like to end on a positive note.  We found out that once my Mom's Title 19 state insurance is approved she will be given $100.00 per month from the Veterans Administration because my Dad was a WW11 Vet.  It is her money to do with as she pleases, no taxes, no questions, no one can take it from her.  She said "my husband is still taking care of me" :-)  I brought her his flag, in it's case that we have had since his military funeral to keep on her night stand..........I salute you Dad and love you.   Love, your Gimpy-Gays (that is what he called me and some still do)


Jackie said...

Gail...I know this must be a hard time for you. I can feel it through the words in your blog...your words to me. I feel it, my dear friend. I do. But feeling it as you do as a daughter is something that cannot be put into words. Let's don't even try. Let's don't go there. Let's step back, take a breath and deal with what's at hand. I know that you are thankful beyond words that you have your sweet Mother still with you and your family...She's been through a lot lately, and it must seem to be overwhelming.
I love the title of your blogpost today: "Home is Where the Heart Is." It absolutely are so right about that.
Know that your Mom is where she can be tended to in the best way. Tears filled my eyes when I read that your Dad's service to his country is now a wonderful service to your sweet Mom. How awesome is that, Gail. Having his flag there is another tender and loving thing that you have done for her (and for him.) I salute you for that. It's the little things in life that make our lives very special, Gail. Every phone call you make...every whispered thought you have of your Mom through the day will not only help her, they will help you, too. She's right there with you...even though she's physically in #4 Watrous Nursing Center. My prayers continue to be lifted up for her. I pray that comfort and peace surround her completely. And you too, my friend. You too.
If you would send me her name, I would love to send my tokens of love and hugs and prayers to her in Connecticut. I would love to do that.
Hugs and love to you, my friend.

Diana said...

Oh Gail I do know how difficult this is for you. I would swear that the nursing home sounds exactly like the one we had to take Jake's aunt to.
But the staff was good. I think it was because it was so small.

There really isn't anything I can think of to say to make this time any easier for you or your mom. It's change. And change isn't always easy. You know that, it's obvious.

In your mom's condition, the most important thing is what is safest and best for her. If this is it than you've done all that you can. So I would think all that's left for you to do is show your love. You do that very well.

Making this transition go smoothly for her is tops on the list right now. Good Luck to you and your family Gail. I will keep you all in my prayers. Love Di ♥

Eileen said...

Gail, this is how it will be now. The 'abnormal' becomes your normal.
You will continue to dread going, and you will continue to dread leaving, and nothing will feel right. But you will have lots of bright spots to hold on to, little Blessings that keep you moving forward, moments with your Mom that you will cherish for a lifetime.

One word of caution, Gail, be very careful what you leave at the nursing home. I remember some of my Mom's aides warning us about so many people having 'sticky fingers', and my sister and I were so sad to think we couldn't trust the people in this home with "things" ~ how were we going to entrust them with the most precious gift of all? So we resolved then and there that each of us would go every other day, and we stayed from breakfast until well after dinner with her.
I know that's impossible for most families to do, so my advice would be NOT to have a routine (as much as that might be good for your Mom), unless you know you can absolutely trust the staff one hundred percent, don't let them know when you will be coming and going. And don't listen to 'posted visiting hours', it is your right to have twenty-four hour access to your family member each and every day. My sister and I would also do a 'middle of the night' visit too (my Mom NEVER slept, just walked and walked the halls all night long), so we would stop in often.

I will keep you in my prayers. And I will pray that anyone who comes in contact with your Mom is worthy of that privilege (for the most part our Mom was watched over by very loving men and women).
God Bless you all.
Love and Prayers,

Gail said...

thank you so much my friend - your love and support mean so much yo me.

@DIANA- and you to my friend - I so appreciate your kindness and shared experience - it helps me profoundly.

@EILEEN - thank you so much for your shared cautions - it is so sad that those we entrust our loved ones too also can cause such harm. and we are going at various times as well - and have yet to show up in the middle of the night but we will! thank you my friend - you mane the world to me

I love and need you all
peace and hope

Scott said...

Kali and I just had to put her Mom in a place that sounds very much like this, but much smaller (12 residents). Kali's Mom's in California, and we live on the East Coast, so it'll be up to Kali's brother to look in on Mom. We hope he doesn't just "warehouse" her there.

Gail said...

Hi Scott - thanks for coming by. Sorry to hear of Kali's Mom - it must be so hard to be so far away -
Love to you

Jane said...

How difficult this season of your life must be right now. I used to think "is this what it ultimately all comes down to - a bed, side table and a few personal items in the end" when visiting my Grandmother (she was in a home the last few years of her life and passed away last spring.) It's hard to accept and yet it's a path most of us will take - to one extent or the other. Even if it's a bigger room - it's not home. There are still blessings to count - this monthly insurance money for one. You are all doing the very best that you can for your Mom. Love and hugs to you, Jane

Amanda said...

This must be so difficult, yet you are pushing through that to be with her. It takes a very strong person to move past their "comfort" in order to do what needs to be done.

I'm sending loving thoughts to you and your family ... and prayers, and hugs, and all that is good.

Andy said...

Dearest Gail,
How I feel for you and your Mum.
The place looks quite nice from the photos I saw but, yes, small.
I'm sending you lots of love through the ether ......

Gail said...

#ANDY - thanks so much for being here. You are in many ways the brother I never had and iz am so happy about that. I love you

@JANE - so true, it all comes down to a little space and a few treasured things - I guess also it is about the love - and there is alot. Last night I awke, and I cried because it was raining and my Mom loves to sleep and listen to the rain - I wondered if she could hear it since the windows are all shut. It's the little things lost that are so heart breaking.

@Amanda - thank you for the encouragement - and yes, navigating the nursing home is way beyond my comfort zone on many levels.

love to you all

Lola said...

Hi Gail,
it must be hard.
My grandma has been in a nursing home for 10 years and it breaks my heart every time I go to visit. I know what you mean.
However, I am sure that you mum feels your love.
She knows how much is loved by you and her family.

All my love to you and your mamma.

Gail said...

HI LOLA - thanks for taking the time - means a lot. My Mom is very brave and also very sad. I hope it is true that love heals all.

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Dearest Gail,

Ever the love in your heart be known. This will be your mother's joy... despair not... celebrate all that was, for it IS - Inspired Spirit - it is not the space... but what holds the space in beauty... so be your heart dear friend...

Much much love,
Rose Marie

Gail said...

Roemarie - YES, it IS, Forever in my spirit, my purpose, my soul and heart -
thank you
Love Gail

Theanne said...

how blessed your Mom is to have her children caring for her! so many in nursing homes have no one. I was fortunate that Don was able to be home with me until his soul rested! I know I will most likely spend time in assisted living or a nursing home! I've always been so independent, such a loner (till Don), such an introvert, that this part of my life journey will be a definite shock to my nervous system ;) the tiny space has made such an impression on you...and it has me too...I like SPACE! however what will be will heart sends hugs to you and your Mom!

Gail said...

Hi Theanne -
I feel the love you and Don have - delicious :-)

and yes, SPACE - I feel so bad that her space is so small - exspecially given where and how she lived - in the open space, with windows and views of trees and flowers and birds - she is so small now both in size and space.
Love to you

Jackie said...

7 Hi Gail...It's June 21. I'm checking in with you to let you know that I'm thinking of you. I hope that you feel the hugs and warm smiles. Just wanted to say "hello" to you!! :)))

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

I feel for your Mom being a nursing home...I can read your pain. Your Dad was a hero

Gail said...

@JACKIE - I love that you stop by to check in - means SO much

@KIM - thanks Kim - and ya, my Dad was and still is a hero, wow

love to you both


Tracey said...

Sending prayers, love & light. Love, me :-)